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WebRTC and the mobile reseller opportunity

The WebRTC opportunity for mobile sales dealers

So far in the ipcortex WebRTC week we’ve talked a lot about the impact that WebRTC will have on how we might communicate, as well as exploring some of the technical aspects of the technology. One thing that we’ve not really touched upon is the way that WebRTC will change the commercial comms ecosystem and, being browser based technology, how it will come to affect the mobile business market.

We invited Dave Stephens,  ‎Sales Manager at major O2 dealer Aerial Telephones to share his views on the current challenges in the business mobile market, diversification into unified communications and how WebRTC will impact the delivery of solutions that marry the two.

A changing market

mobile conversationThe business mobile market is in a difficult space right now. Monthly prices are falling whilst handset costs are rising dramatically; a situation made worse in the UK where by and large we still expect to be able to get a free handset with a new contract. Of course we all know the handset is not really free, rather subsidised by the selected tariff, but the result is that many mobile providers only seeing a profit in month 18 onwards.

This differs from  most other countries, where the norm is to select a tariff and then have to purchase the handset separately. While this alternative is beginning to creep into the UK market it’s proving to be a very difficult shift from the “free handset” culture that’s become so ingrained over the last fifteen years.

The business mobile world has also taken a few other hits recently. Non traditional mobile players are making real plans to infringe on the space. WhatsApp are now offering phone calls over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, and Google have confirmed their intention to act as an MVNO (in the US at first). Their Project Fi will introduce pay-for-what-you-use data plans, where unused data allowance is credited at the end of the billing cycle. Add to this that within the last few months, Ofcom have proposed a dramatic cap on the price of mobile phone calls between different networks. This will reduce another revenue stream for most UK mobile providers.

For business mobile resellers, there is additional pressure in that many of them have seen their base being attacked by traditional IT or unified comms resellers. It is true that it is far easier for IT or UC resellers to move into the business mobile market than it for a mobile reseller to go the other way, which would take significant investment and upskilling.

Adapt or perish

ChameleonThis all contributes to an environment where companies in the mobile space must adapt or perish. This isn’t limited to resellers, either. It can even be seen at a mobile network operator level where even the big players are beginning to move into some very untraditional services such as hosted telephony, landline services and even hosted IT products.

For the opportunistic and imaginative reseller, however, moving into other areas of business comms like these can present significant benefits and is a challenge worth attempting. “Mobility” is a growing concern within the IT and Telecoms industry right now with many businesses striving to adopt a “work anywhere” approach. We are seeing a clear push to give employees the tools they need to be effective wherever they are. This is ideal for the savvy mobile reseller that has always had this as their core remit.

There are of course issues when looking after a truly mobile unified communications platform. Primarily this is related to the fact that there are 3 core mobile operating systems which are constantly being upgraded, not to mention the 1000s of different handsets that users can choose from, each with their own quirks and nuances. Standard native mobile apps delivered by PBXs produce all kinds of headaches for engineering teams. This is where the development of WebRTC is really exciting as it may negate the need to install, upgrade and manage these difficult situations.

That’s a long way off – not every mobile OS supports WebRTC – but we are watching the progression of the standard with a keen eye.

Previous posts from the ipcortex WebRTC week:

Real Time Campaigning: How will WebRTC and other tech impact elections in 10 years’ time?

Hacking together a WebRTC Pi in the sky – keevio eye

Wormholes, WebRTC and the implications of algorithmical analysis Defragmenting today’s communications

WebRTC – where are the real world applications?

Welcome to ipcortex WebRTC week on

Check out all our WebRTC posts here

Business ecommerce gadgets

Skimlinks – moneymaking machine #wonga #moolah #lolly

skimlinks revenuesA few weeks ago  as a bit of an experiment I signed up with Skimlinks. Skimlinks is a means of making money via affiliate marketing on your website. Their plug in scans your site for words that they can associate with their affiliated merchants (Amazon etc) and they insert a link to a relevant product sales page on that site. I have it set on a fairly low level of intrusion as a) it was only an experiment and b) I didn’t want to annoy people with too much in the face advertising. Google can also take a dim view on this sort of stuff if it is over the top.

At the time it was before I had announced my plans to leave my previous employer and start anew. One or two of you did actually notice and made comments on Twitter. Nothing bad, Just “interesting, let us know how you get on“.

Well I am excited to announce that since signing on (looks as if it was early November) I have made a grand total of £57.34.  In recognition of what is a huge rate of growth (zero to fifty seven quid = infinite rate of growth) I shall shortly be announcing the imminent flotation of this blog on the stock market.

It is worth taking a look at where this income has come from and at some of the stats so vibrantly driving the new economy.

I mentioned Amazon (etc). All the sales have in fact come through Amazon and the vast majority have been for the Google Chromecast for which I am making anything between £1.12 and £1.47 commission per sale achieved. For the unfamiliar amongst you a sale is recognised against my account by tracking the click through from to the ultimate signing on the dotted line by the paying punter. I don’t get the money for around 60 days which are pretty generous terms in Amazon’s favour considering they will get the cash instantly because the customer will have paid by credit card.

skimlinks_sold_itemsAside from the Chromecast there’s a fairly long list of other items bought after clicking on a link. The mix is wonderful. Wonderful because you wonder how on earth they got to this blog if they were actually looking for certain items. Click on the photo on the right for a larger view. The wonderful list includes a Breville Technique Digital Steam Iron, 2400 Watt, BRASS ALLIANCE QUINTET FROM ST. PETERSBURG (presumably a musical CD – I’d expect a fairly substantial commission if I’d managed to arrange a gig for them),  Ramozz @ 5X Led Pcb Connector Cable For 5050 Led Rgb Strip and some MENS LONG COTTON SOCKS Comfy grip Size 6-11 Black 6pk (made 45 pence there – don’t laugh, it all adds up).

If you look at the statistics since the installation of Skimlinks the blog has had 62,605 visits and made £57.34 from 1,450 clicks – thats an average of 4 pence per click.

Ok so this isn’t going to pay for next summer’s holiday in Barbados, or even one in Skegness although I still have time before I need to book – will just have to accept that we might miss the January sales.

It is however interesting to see what kind of traffic you need to drive to the site in order to make money. If we assume that Barbados is going to cost ten grand – we will have to leave the kids behind, we have to be realistic about expectations – then my quick back of a google spreadsheet calc tells me we will need just under 11 million visitors between now and the end of May. This assumes Anne and I will be going at the start of the school holidays (wouldn’t want the headmaster to find out we had abandoned the kids for a couple of weeks) and recognising that it is going to take 2 months to get the cash off Skimlinks.

Half the battle in business is getting your objective setting right and making them realistically achievable. Also you do have to be sensible about these expectations. Clearly the blog isn’t going to go from the current visitor levels to around 2 – 2 1/2 million a month just like that. We must expect a ramp up. So in order to hit an average of around 2.5 million visitors a month over the next 5 months or so we probably need to be hitting a run rate of 4 1/2 million visits a month by the end of May. Ish.

There we go then.

Now this is all just a bit of fun but at the end of the day is going to make money so what learnings can really be taken out of the Skimlinks numbers.

Well for one the blog is getting a lot of visits to the Chromecast review – 10,754 in the time period being covered here. This is almost certainly because we were one of the first to carry a review of the Chromecast in the UK – it was only available via import at the time. This has been noticeable over the years. Before FTTC (fibre broadband) was available I wrote some technical posts on it and for a long time, until the consumer ISP advertising machines got into gear, the blog ranked very highly for FTTC.

Also a search for Chromecast on this site brings up 7 results. I’d be surprised if was really that low but in any case there must clearly from Google’s perspective be some content regarding Chromecast worth ranking.

Once we are properly up and running is going to specialise in certain aspects of the technology market. It isn’t hard to guess what the focus is going to be. It’s the kind of stuff that has been covered over the years – connectivity, hosting, mobile and so on.

The key is in generating content that will elevate the site up the rankings for specific subjects. For example a high end broadband bundle can yield up to £140 in commission for a sale achieved through an affiliate marketing click through. A few of those in a month and you can justifiably start applying for the passport and cancel the caravan booking in Skeggy.

It’s also important to understand who the blog readership is because getting the content right will also not only generate affiliate click through sales but also attract specialist advertising.

Anyway that’s enough for now. Gotta nip out for some suntan lotion – Poundland, January sales. is open up for guest posts so if you have anything you want to say in the technology area drop me a line and can chat about setting you up with an account.


PS Only £7 of the Skimlinks money is so far available for collection because of the 60 days rule. I haven’t looked to see if it is there. I don’t get out of bed for less than a tenner.